A SWBC Senior Moment

ai8o

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This afternoon, I reprogrammed my FT-450D.
After I download new data, the radio resets itself to Memory #1.

As I was scrolling thru 41 meters I picked up what sounded like "Easy Listening pop" in an unknown language.
The signal was 5-5-5-5-5.
In the last few years have I heard fewer and fewer SWBC signals on HF, much less a good quality one.

The station eventually ID's as Voice of Turkey.

This brought back my memories of SWLing in the 60's and 70's.
Before the Internet, Short Wave was the only way to hear foreign voices and music.

Bhangra, Arab chanting ,BBC Promenades, Radio Japan, and of course Joe Adamov at Radio Moscow and his buddies at Radio Havana raving about "running dog lackies".

There's no real point to this posting,
just a nice trip down Memory Lane.
 

GB46

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Thanks for that! I'm in my seventies, so I have the same kind of memories, and have even gone to the extent of looking up old radios I used to own and downloading pictures of them.

During my teen years, friends of the family, aware of my fascination with radio, used to give me big old console radios which they were cleaning out of their attics or basements. I would often remove the chassis' from their cabinets and use the radios that way, since there was limited space in my bedroom. It was fun watching the glow of the tubes while listening to foreign broadcasts.

I'm afraid those experiences can't be matched by listening to today's digital radios, so it's good that we still have those memories.

BTW, The Voice of Turkey was one of my favorite stations back then, but I've yet to hear them nowadays, even though I know their frequencies and time schedule. As for Arab chanting, you can still hear that today on 13710 kHz between 15:00 and 18:00 UTC (8 to 11 AM at my location). That's BSKSA in Saudi Arabia, and the broadcasts come directly from Riyadh. They often come in very strong here, and can be heard on my portable with just the whip antenna.
 

majoco

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I had my first crystal set when I was about 8 years old - a friend of my Dad's added another coil and a switch so that I could get the European 49metre band which in the early 50's was really jumping - all sorts of propaganda stations in Germany, Russia and the American "Radio Free Europe". Now that I live on the other side of the globe I can still get R.Romania and Greece at S9+10dB on the grey line - all sorts of memories come flooding back!
 

GB46

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Now that I live on the other side of the globe I can still get R.Romania and Greece at S9+10dB on the grey line - all sorts of memories come flooding back
Where did you live before you moved to New Zealand? My own location has changed several times since my teens, when I lived in the eastern U.S. and could get strong signals from European broadcasters on the simplest of shortwave receivers with just 20 ft. of wire hanging from my bedroom window. My current location is the worst place I've lived in Canada for shortwave reception. The best one was in Saskatchewan, and second best was in the Vancouver area.

Of course, there weren't all these RFI-generating digital devices when I was a kid.
 

Boombox

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In the 1990's I listened to the Voice of Turkey nightly, on my DX390 and 100 ft antenna. Turkish music, with a little talk here and there in Turkish. I think the broadcasts were directed towards Turks in Germany and other northern European countries, but the signal on 31 meters hit the PNW US with readable signals nightly. Such memories.
 

majoco

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I lived in Essex in England - finding signals in those days without any internet input was quite hit and miss - I found a book in the local library that listed a lot of shortwave broadcast stations but I probably didn't understand too much about propagation but at least I did make some notes about the bands. Dad bought me a gov't surplus radio when I was about 11yo that had a good frequency readout so I did collect some QSL cards. I was intrigued by a lady in the 4MHz marine band continuously reading out the Rome Radio frequencies....I can hear her voice in my head even now!
 

GB46

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I lived in Essex in England - finding signals in those days without any internet input was quite hit and miss -
But that made it more of a challenge, which was part of what attracted me to SWLing. Also, today's radios with digital frequency readout, direct entry and memory slots make things a bit too easy. With those old boat anchor radios you had to depend on bandspreads with logging scales to find a station the second time. Then there was drift and tuning dial backlash, plus dial cords that got stretched, or got frayed and could snap at any time. I often had to use the tube tester in a local drugstore, too, not to mention the money I spent there on tube replacements. What fun! :LOL:
 

majoco

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My radio was a Marconi R1475 - the frequency scale was a spiral cut into the surface of a cylinder so each scale was actually metres long - the frequency coverage was only 2 to 20MHz in 4 bands. It was all gear driven so no cords to stretch or slip and had a crystal calibrator so setting a particular frequency was no problem. The attached pic is me and my Dad somewhere in the mid 50's!

R1475 Martin & Dad sml.jpg
 

GB46

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My radio was a Marconi R1475 - the frequency scale was a spiral cut into the surface of a cylinder so each scale was actually metres long - the frequency coverage was only 2 to 20MHz in 4 bands. It was all gear driven so no cords to stretch or slip and had a crystal calibrator so setting a particular frequency was no problem. The attached pic is me and my Dad somewhere in the mid 50's!

View attachment 90207
You were lucky to have your father share that interest. Mine wasn't at all interested in radio. He was even late getting his first FM radio, which I set up for him. I had acquired a used FM tuner with no audio amp, so I patched it into our TV's audio amp so my Dad could listen to his favorite classical music station from New York. My main encouragement in the hobby came mostly from my uncle, who was a ham, and from a local TV repairman who administered my novice-class ham test.

What I liked about those old vacuum tube sets was that they were hand wired, so I could often repair them myself. I have neither the technical knowledge nor the manual dexterity to work on today's tiny radios packed tightly with ICs and transistors. My handheld scanner, in fact, is no larger than the palm of my hand, but out of curiosity I looked at the interior pictures in the service manual zoomed to match the actual dimensions of the radio and couldn't believe how many parts were stuffed in there. No user serviceable parts inside, at least if the user happens to be Gerry.
 

ridgescan

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My radio was a Marconi R1475 - the frequency scale was a spiral cut into the surface of a cylinder so each scale was actually metres long - the frequency coverage was only 2 to 20MHz in 4 bands. It was all gear driven so no cords to stretch or slip and had a crystal calibrator so setting a particular frequency was no problem. The attached pic is me and my Dad somewhere in the mid 50's!

View attachment 90207
Your Dad is COOL Marty:) reminds me of my Dad who had zero interest in radios but knew I had passion for radios. So he bought me my 1st CB back in '75, my first CB base radio, a half-wave base antenna and Turner +3 desk mic in '79 as a high school graduation present. He also bought me my Realistic multiband portables in '76 that I still have and they still run!
I miss him-my Dad. a "man's man". He died in '85 and in some ways it feels like last week.
 

GB46

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He also bought me my Realistic multiband portables in '76 that I still have and they still run!
Did you have the portable in the middle of my desk in this old picture from the 80s? It was a Realistic Astronaut 8. Pretty good, but eventually the pointer in the slide rule dial got misaligned, because it kept falling off the dial cord from contact with the back of the dial face window.

80s_shack.jpg

The other SW radio in the photo was a DX-300, which eventually had issues with its LED frequency display.
 
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ridgescan

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Did you have the portable in the middle of my desk in this old picture from the 80s? It was a Realistic Astronaut 8. Pretty good, but eventually the pointer in the slide rule dial got misaligned, because it kept falling off the dial cord from contact with the back of the dial face window.


The other SW radio in the photo was a DX-300, which eventually had issues with its LED frequency display.
Here's a shot of them today-the Patrolman SW-60 and Patrolman-9. And that little SW-60 is STILL a super performer in the MW band. Great for night time MW DX.
 

majoco

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My Dad actually worked for UK Marconi's from about 1936 to 1964 - as far as I know, he had something to do with the design of the wartime "Type A Mk3" suitcase radio and he knew a lot about the one that I had - for instance he said "Don't try to clean up the fake leather case, they were made dirty. Nobody had anything new at the end of the war". Here's a pic of mine that I sold to a museum in the Netherlands for a substantial sum - it was only gathering dust in the bottom of a garage cupboard!
 

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ridgescan

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Nice Marty-my Dad ran a meat locker in Bensenville, Illinois. He'd get orders for entire sides of beef/pork/lamb and would cut them down to order, freeze the order and personally deliver to customers. He'd even butcher down deer and elk for the hunters.
 

N8IAA

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Reading these stories takes me back to my youth when my dad helped me build a xtal radio kit. The alligator connector for the antenna was attached to my metal bed springs and the earphone was one of those beige twisted wire setups. Used to DX AM radio stations late at night when I was supposed to be sleeping. ;)
Keep the stories coming!
 

GB46

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Reading these stories takes me back to my youth when my dad helped me build a xtal radio kit. The alligator connector for the antenna was attached to my metal bed springs and the earphone was one of those beige twisted wire setups. Used to DX AM radio stations late at night when I was supposed to be sleeping. ;)
Funny, that's exactly what I did when I was in my early teens! I had a crystal earphone, same color and wire. My crystal set had an actual tuning dial, but instead of a variable capacitor the dial used a worm gear to push a ferrite rod in and out of the coil.

I listened mostly to Jean Shepherd's stories on his late night shows on WOR in New York City (roughly 25 miles from where I lived), while hiding the radio under the covers. It could be easily discovered by the earphone wire lying on my pillow and the fact that I usually fell asleep with the earphone in plain view, but I don't think my parents looked in on me when they figured I was fast asleep.
 

a29zuk

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Reading these stories takes me back to my youth when my dad helped me build a xtal radio kit. The alligator connector for the antenna was attached to my metal bed springs and the earphone was one of those beige twisted wire setups. Used to DX AM radio stations late at night when I was supposed to be sleeping. ;)
Keep the stories coming!
It was easier for me as I shared an upstairs bedroom in our house. I could have the radio on low volume up next to my ear. Always trying to catch those AM west coast stations in the wee hours of the morning. Monday morning is when most stations did their testing, so I had some sleepy days at school later that day.

The dial stop on a rotary telephone always made a good antenna, too!

Jim
 

GB46

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It was easier for me as I shared an upstairs bedroom in our house. I could have the radio on low volume up next to my ear. Always trying to catch those AM west coast stations in the wee hours of the morning. Monday morning is when most stations did their testing, so I had some sleepy days at school later that day.
I had my own bedroom, but when I became a ham my station was up against the wall separating me from my parents' bedroom. It became a problem when I started keeping my parents awake, since my transmitter (AM mode only) was way undermodulated and I had to practically shout into the microphone.
 

a29zuk

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I had my own bedroom, but when I became a ham my station was up against the wall separating me from my parents' bedroom. It became a problem when I started keeping my parents awake, since my transmitter (AM mode only) was way undermodulated and I had to practically shout into the microphone.
Gee, you needed those sound absorbing panels for your bedroom walls!

As long as I stayed quiet and didn't get up and walk around I was good to go. My parents bedroom was downstairs.

My brother had a DX-300. Living in a high RF area(many close AM stations) it was prone to a lot of overloading up in the shortwave and ham bands.

I enjoy the photos of the older radios and radio setups. I'll have to dig up some of my old shack pictures. Martin always has some cool stuff.

Jim
 
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GB46

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As long as I stayed quiet and didn't get up and walk around I was good to go. My parents bedroom was downstairs.
My bedroom was upstairs, directly above the living room. I had been fond of playing marbles back then, and had a big collection of them, which I accidentally spilled on the floor one night while my Dad was down there watching TV. It was an uncarpeted hardwood floor, so you can imagine what that must have sounded like. Dad called up to me from the foot of the stairs "Gerry, you've lost your marbles!" :LOL:

My brother had a DX-300. Living in a high RF area(many close AM stations) it was prone to a lot of overloading up in the shortwave and ham bands.
Mine didn't overload, but drifted a lot, sometimes finding its way back on frequency by itself. As for the LED display problems, several of the segments started flickering and eventually died altogether.

I enjoy the photos of the older radios and radio setups. I'll have to dig up some of my old shack pictures. Martin always has some cool stuff.
I wish I had taken a picture of my setup back in 1974, with the enormous Hammarlund SP-600, plus some CB stuff, but I had no interest in photography at the time. My apartment was on the 21st floor of a highrise, with a fantastic view and an antenna out on the balcony. There was very little RFI at the time, especially because the building had a shared TV antenna on the roof instead of cable TV.
 
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